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COLUMBIA CITY — With the tip-off of the girls’ basketball season at Donald S. Weeks Gymnasium tonight, a new but familiar face steps into the leadership role of a program known by its head coach.
For the first time in 33 seasons, Hall of Fame Lady Eagles coach Wayne Kreiger will not be the voice on the sideline barking out directions.
First-year head coach Amy Shearer has taken over that responsibility. After the offseason shocker of Kreiger stepping down, Shearer went from nine-year assistant coach under the legendary coach to his replacement.
“They’re different aspects to being a head coach rather than an assistant,” Shearer noted. “I’ve been with the program for awhile and I’m comfortable on how a program is put together and how it should run.”
When Columbia City hosts county rival Whitko tonight, it will be the first for Shearer as a head coach but not her first time as a rookie with the Lady Eagles.
The nine seasons as an assistant isn’t the only time Shearer has been a part of the Lady Eagles program.
Shearer has earned her wings as a player as well playing under Kreiger during a stretch of 13 consecutive sectional championships for the former head coach.
“I’ve learned a lot from coach both as a coach myself and my time as a player,” Shearer said.
Shearer was a leader on the court before she was on the bench. From her first varsity game where she scored 10 points as a freshman, Shearer was a big threat for Columbia City between 1986 to 1989.
In her own high school career, Shearer totaled 1,029 points to go along with a 76-18 team record. The impressive high school marks led to a more remarkable postseason run with four sectional titles, two regional crowns and two semistate appearances in 1987 and 1989.
Shearer still holds the Warsaw regional record for most points scored in a one day session with 51 points after helping Columbia City beat No. 1 ranked Warsaw in 1989.
An Indiana All-Star, Shearer went on to play four seasons of Division I basketball at the University of Evansville.
Shearer ranks in the top 10 all-time in four different categories at Evansville including points (1,362), three-point field goals (204), free throw percentage (76 percent), assists (297).
Taking from her time at Evansville, Shearer sees things she can translate to her own team now.
“College is the next level but there are certain things you can add in, having been in that college game, to bring to the high school level — maybe something different than what teams are used to seeing.”